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Internists Support Advance Care Planning Codes Included in 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule

American College of Physicians (ACP) Applauds Important Step to Improve Patient Care

(Washington, July 8, 2015) The American College of Physicians (ACP) today said it supports the inclusion of Advance Care Planning codes in the just-released 2016 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule. ACP further applauds the efforts of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for taking this important step to improve care for Medicare patients with serious illness.

"The nation's physicians believe that conversations among physicians, patients, and loved ones is the standard of care," said Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP president of ACP. "The College is pleased that CMS has recognized what the medical community is doing to address the needs and requests made by patients and their loved ones."

ACP believes that access to these voluntary services under Medicare provides people an important and often timely opportunity to establish their goals of care and preferences in the event of a serious illness and have them documented. More specifically, these discussions include addressing the patient's current disease state, disease progression, available treatments, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, life sustaining measures, life expectancy considering the patient's age and co-morbidities, and clinical recommendations of the treating physician, as well as reviews of patient past medical history, medical documentation/reports, and response(s) to previous treatments.

In May, ACP joined 65 organizations in sending a letter to Health and Human Services Sec. Sylvia Burwell. The letter, from a spectrum of advocacy groups representing patients, health professionals, caregivers, and faith-based health care systems, urged CMS to include advance care planning in the Physician Fee Schedule. "CMS recognition of advance care planning acknowledges that quality of care can be dramatically improved when patients, families, and their health care professionals work through planning for serious and often complex health care issues together so that patients receive their preferences in care," Dr. Riley continued. "As our population ages and medical science gives us an increasing number of medical options to consider, advance care planning that promotes choices for end of life care while weighing the values and preferences of each patient is essential. Each of us deserves this kind of care, and it should be viewed no differently than any other type of medical care that research shows is effective."

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The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 143,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact: David Kinsman, (202) 261-4554
dkinsman@acponline.org